Palawan SSF Workshop (Gregg Yan & WWF)Artisanal Fisherman with Sailfish  (Gregg Yan)Press Release:
“We work harder now to catch less fish than we used to,” admits Billy Atung, a fisherman from Tawi-Tawi in the Southern Philippines. “The sea is just not what it used to be.”
Unfortunately, half-a-century of unsustainable fishing has led to the depletion – even the collapse – of some of the world’s fish stocks. Oftentimes, chronic poverty and fledgling management capacity impedes recovery.
Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) definition varies depending on locale, but generally employs traditional low-technology techniques and vessels for either subsistence or commercial operations. SSF currently employs 90% of the world’s capture fishers (half of which are women) while providing 50% of global yields and 60% of wild-caught seafood.
On the other hand, Aquaculture has now bypassed the amount of seafood caught from the wild, with an estimated 90 million tonnes produced annually. To promote the sustainability of global marine resources which form the production base for food, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) via its Global Marine Programme (GMP) works to develop the small scale fisheries and aquaculture industry. The goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods of the world’s small scale fishers, and to assure food security around their communities. Furthermore, there is a need to value and highlight the services provided by the ecosystems such as the coral reefs, mangroves and sea-grass beds from which fisheries and aquaculture depend on.
Taking off from an earlier meeting last March in Mombasa, Kenya, 26 participants from a host of nations convened in the primeval Philippine island of Palawan to develop strategies for the improvement of governance, innovative tools for sustainability and stakeholder incentives. The results intend to provide small scale fishers and the small scale aquaculture business with a clearer roadmap to sustainability.
“Our vision is for SSF and aquaculture in developing countries to be effectively and sustainably managed. This in turn contributes to local food security, livelihoods and overall ecological productivity,” says WWF Global Marine Programme (GMP) Director John Tanzer. “With over 20 years of experience working with small scale fishers across the globe, the power of the WWF network can make a difference in people’s lives.”